This study compared the effects of casein, soy protein (SP), red (RMP), and white meat (WMP) proteins on growth and metabolism of young rats. Compared to casein, the ratio of daily feed intake to daily body weight gain of rats was not changed by meat protein but reduced by SP by 93.3% (P < 0.05). Feeding RMP and WMP reduced the liver total cholesterol (TC) contents by 24.3% and 17.8%, respectively (P < 0.05). Only RMP increased plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations (by 12.7%, P < 0.05), whereas SP increased plasma triacylglycerol, TC, and LDL-cholesterol concentrations by 23.7%, 19.5%, and 61.5%, respectively (P < 0.05). Plasma essential and total amino acid concentrations were increased by WMP (by 18.8% and 12.4%, P < 0.05) but reduced by SP (by 28.3% and 37.7%, P < 0.05). Twenty-five liver proteins were differentially expressed in response to different protein sources. Therefore, meat proteins were beneficial for growth and metabolism of young rats compared to casein and SP.